Friday, October 5, 2007

Smack, bang in the middle of the world. Short update.

China, man it`s big and complicated.

After a couple of weeks in Kashgar in the far west of the country, Torkild, Maria and i are now in Beijing. We`re staying at Jonas`and Julias`place, friends of Torkild from Oslo. Beijing seems refreshingly familiar. Yesterday night we went to a punkrock gig for a good pogo, beer and whiskey. The bands were good, too. Now we`re going out for sushi. Ah, decadence!

Meanwhile the city is preparing for the olympics next year, the Uigurs in Kashgar are celebrating Idd, the Communist party is about to embark on their 17th party congress and thousands and thousands of people are busy trying to censor the internet traffic.

China looks, from an outsiders` perspective, to be one of the most commercial and capitalist places on earth. In one way it seems like they are attempting to mix the worst out of both worlds; centralized socialism gone horribly wrong, and wreckless ultra capitalism, into a political mish-mash from hell. At the same time you have a city like Bijing, a thriving city, culturally, economically- seemingly well-functioning in most ways, right in the centre of the Land of the Middle. A happening place. A city with a thriving music scene and "a booming art economy" (according to the free English magazine "Time Out").

Well, between all the exibitions, conserts and good street food, we´re heading for Tiananmen Square today to witness the beginning of the 17th party congress of the Communist Party of China. It`s expected that the president Hu Jintao will keep his mandate for five more years, as will the prime minister Wen Jiabao. Well, we`ll see. I am quite sure we`ll see a different and more disturbing side of Beijing.

More updates comming shortly.

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